Going through menopause at a later age increases the risk of breast cancer. For example, studies show women who go through menopause after age 55 have about a 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who do so before age 45 [101,119].
This increase in risk is likely linked to the amount of estrogen a woman is exposed to in her life. A higher lifetime exposure to estrogen is related to an increase in breast cancer risk. The later a woman goes through menopause, the longer her breast tissue is exposed to estrogens released during the menstrual cycle and the greater her lifetime exposure to estrogen.
Learn more about estrogen and breast cancer risk.